Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest, most exciting days of your life. So why would 96% of engaged and newly married couples describe wedding planning as stressful, according to a study from Zola? 

“Wedding planning is an un-navigated territory for most couples. They often don't know what things should cost, in what order to do certain tasks, and what they should focus their time and energy on,” explains Tess Brand, owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “The ‘once in a lifetime’ mentality also adds pressure to make it the most perfect day ever."

To further illustrate this point, Brand compares wedding planning to a trip to the grocery store. 

“When you go into a grocery store, you know what an apple should cost. And you know from experience what apples you prefer,” she says. “However, when a client talks to a florist, he or she has no idea what flowers cost, what amount is enough, what season is best for certain blooms, and how much is enough.”

While you can’t completely remove stress from the wedding planning equation, you can take proactive steps to minimize strain and relieve tension before it gets to be too much. 

1. Hire a professional

Brand’s number one piece of advice: “Hire a planner!” An expert planner has been through this process dozens, if not hundreds of times. In other words, they know what they’re doing. And since not knowing is a huge source of stress for couples, a planner can help them feel more confident about the process. 

2. Break it down

If you can’t afford a planner, create your step-by-step plan. That way, you can take a list of seemingly large tasks into more manageable, bite-sized pieces.

“Couples that try to plan their entire wedding in the first month they are engaged will become overwhelmed, exhausted and likely confused,” says Brand. “Instead, spread out the tasks and take them one by one. This will also help you enjoy your engagement, which is what you are supposed to do!”

3. Make a backup plan

When making your list of wedding to-do’s, don’t forget to include contingency plans in case things go awry. This kind of forethought can save you from scrambling on the big day if the weather is bad or you have a minor wardrobe malfunction. 

4. Schedule “wedding planning time”

Another way to prevent stress overload is to keep it from consuming your every waking moment, says Brand. 

“If wedding planning is putting tension on your relationship. Designate a time each week or month to make decisions about the wedding, and then be very disciplined to not discuss it outside of those times,” she explains. 

5. Let others lend a helping hand

Couples also shouldn’t feel pressure to take completing every wedding-related errand themselves. Every great project takes a village, so don’t be afraid to delegate.

“If you have family members and friends that want to help, delegate and give them tasks, which makes your load lighter,” recommends Brand. 

6. Don’t procrastinate

“The biggest mistake I see is when clients shut down completely and leave everything until the end, which causes way more stress closer to the wedding day,” says Brand. “Putting off the tasks will result in a poorly planned day and headaches leading up to the weekend.” 

7. Make time for you and your partner

Remember to prioritize yourself and your well-being in the midst of the wedding planning chaos. That might mean joining a weekly exercise class, getting the occasional massage or taking up meditation – whatever brings you joy and helps you relieve stress (in a healthy way).

Don’t forget to nourish your relationship, too! Plan a weekly date night so you can stay connected throughout your engagement. Plus, it’s a habit that you can carry into your married life.

©CTW Features